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Pennsylvania University System Snuffs Out All Smoking

smoking, cigarettes, nicotine, college, university, obesitySmoking at 14 of Pennsylvania's state-owned universities has been banned anywhere on campus, including outdoors. The action has sparked protests by some of the 110,000 students in the State System of Higher Education. The students received word of the ban by e-mail with virtually no advance notice, just one day before a new state law forbidding smoking in most workplaces and public spaces took effect.

After discussions with university presidents and system board members, Chancellor John Cavanaugh interpreted the law to extend beyond buildings at educational facilities to include all campus grounds such as courtyards, parking lots and athletic fields.

More than 130 colleges and universities across the country already have such policies.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

In the U.S., nearly 24 percent of men, and 18 percent of women, are smokers, according to the latest Trends in Tobacco Use report by the American Heart Association.

Smoking is most common among young adults aged 18 to 24 years.

An estimated 70 percent of smokers say they would like to quit, which would be a wise choice considering the many health risks involved. Many people assume that the only serious negative effects of smoking are on your lungs. But studies have shown that smoking can have negative effects on your endocrine system as well, causing a 3- to 5-fold increase in the risk of all types of thyroid diseases and disorders.

Statistics estimate that adult smokers shorten their lives by an average of 14 years.

Conventional medicine continues to call smoking the “leading cause of preventable death in the United States,” and the Centers for Disease Control estimate that smoking causes one out of every five U.S. deaths every year.

I used to believe this too.

When I first finished my residency program and started my medical practice I was dedicated in my aim to help people stop smoking. But over the years I have realized that although smoking is obviously not healthy, it is not the cause of most preventable illness.

High sugar consumption and unresolved emotional traumas get that honor.

Let me make myself clear, I do NOT advocate smoking and I do suggest quitting to be optimally healthy. But if you are currently facing numerous health challenges, quitting smoking should not be at the top of your list.

What’s Even More Important Than Quitting Smoking?

Optimizing your health BEFORE you focus your attention on snuffing out cigarettes for good is a far more important goal.



  1. If you attempt to quit smoking while you’re still eating an unhealthy diet, you will likely be tempted to replace the cigarettes with some other “reward.” And the reward often ends up being junk food. Smokers gain an average 10 to 12 pounds after they quit, partly because they crave sweets and carbohydrates, and party because their metabolism slows down after they have dropped the habit.
  2. Depression is a common side effect while quitting smoking, which makes it very difficult to make any major dietary changes and improvements to your health.
  3. Your new healthy lifestyle is more likely to provide you with the incentive needed to quit. There’s something about eating healthy and exercising that synergistically help to resolve the underlying anxiety that many people choose to resolve with smoking. And I have found that if a person is eating the right foods and exercising it is very unusual for them to remain a smoker.

I’m fond of saying that one French fry is worse for you than one cigarette, so swapping your pack a day for an extra value meal a day is NOT a good swap.

And this is not just my opinion; it’s based on scientific fact.

A study conducted back in 2001 actually found that obesity was associated with higher rates of chronic medical problems and a poorer quality of life than smoking. So it’s absolutely essential that you are devoted to eating healthy before you give up smoking. Otherwise you may simply trade smoking for overeating, or eating too much sugar and fast food, which will lead to obesity and all of its related problems.

Being optimally healthy involves more than just being smoke-free. My entire program to get healthy is described in detail in Take Control of Your Health, but here are some of the basics to get you started:

  1. Read through my nutrition plan to get started eating right.
  2. Make friends with exercise. It is your ally to fighting disease, and to quitting smoking.
  3. Find a healthy emotional outlet. Many people use exercise, meditation, or relaxation techniques for this, and these are all great, but I especially love the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT helps to clear out emotional blockages from your system, thus restoring your mind and body's balance.

Once you are regularly doing these three things, THEN start thinking about kicking your smoking habit.

What’s the Best (and Worst) Way to Quit Smoking?

The best way to quit smoking is to go “cold turkey.”  Studies have shown that simply cutting back on how much you smoke does nothing to lower your cancer risk. So once you decide to quit, complete abstinence is required.

I would advise you to avoid prescription medications to quit smoking, however. Despite what the pharmaceutical advertisers say, smoking is not a “treatable disease” or “medical condition”!

Not only are anti-smoking drugs expensive, but their side effects, which include depression, seizures, and suicide, can be truly devastating.

Instead, I highly suggest you use EFT frequently during this process, as it’s very effective at helping people to overcome addictions.

+ Sources and References